This area is best known as a spot to monitor the spring and, especially, fall migration of raptors through the southern Appalachians, as a regularly monitored hawk migration station since the 1970's. From mid-August through November, the site is usually staffed by knowledgeable volunteers and boasts high numbers of migrating raptors. Early migrating Osprey, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, and others keep watchers entertained. Mid- to late-September brings thousands of Broad-winged Hawk. Later in the season, Golden Eagle peak in number, along with Sharp-shinned, Cooper's and Red-shouldered Hawks. Migrating songbird movements at the site can also be impressive, with numerous warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks winging their way past the gap. Red-headed Woodpecker often show up in September; large flights of Monarch butterflies can also occur at this time. The site is small, but it sits on the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and hosts some interesting breeding species, including Black-throated Green and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Ovenbird and Cedar Waxwing. This site is just north of Doughton Park, which has amenities including a lodge, coffee shop, picnic facilities and camping.
Species of Interest (Full Bird List)
Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Broad-winged Hawk, Black-throated Green Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager
oak forest & mixed hardwoods/pine, rocky outcrop
Sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are often closed during the winter months due to snow and ice. Other temporary closures may occur following storms as a result of hazardous road conditions. It is best to check our website to get current road conditions (http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm). The use of tapes to attract birds is prohibited. Timber Rattlesnakes, which are protected by federal law on Parkway lands, are found on both Mahogany Rock and Folger's Knob and are occasionally seen, so watch where you step and put your hands.
Access and Parking
The site is open daily, except during Parkway closures. Parking is available at the overlook.
From the intersection of US 21 and NC 18 in Sparta, go south on US 21 for 6 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the Parkway 5 miles south to the Mahogany Rock Overlook at Milepost 235
Delorme Gazetteer Page
Northern Blue Ridge Parkway